U13s – First few sessions

Seven weeks (and sessions) into my new coaching job, it’s already time for some reflection. It’s been 3 months now since the end of last season and I feel very rusty already. Dancing has taken most of my attention, as I’ve replaced my coaching hours with teaching hours, so I don’t feel like I’ve made any progress as a coach since then.

On the contrary. I understand some of my certainties have been shaken and in my last session I didn’t feel very confident in front of my players. Partly because of the reasons above but also because my english is a bit slippery at the moment. Without putting some effort into polishing my speaking skills, I’ve often been blanking or stuttering, not only coaching but also when teaching dance.

The training started really well, though. I have a strong group of players, way more balanced than my previous team. There are obviously average players and some very good ones but the enormous and problematic gap we had last year isn’t there. When the level is very different it’s challenging to keep the cohesion of the team as players start to resent each other. The strong ones because of the performance of the weak ones and often enough the weak ones for being harshly treated by the strong ones.

I was really happy with my first team talk. I planned it for some time and I think I conveyed my message to the players. Before talking about football I set a core of principles that should guide our way through the season: Honesty, respect, reponsability, organization.

Also, I feel way more organized and prepared to conduct the sessions with a very good flow, but it does get a bit chaotic sometimes during the breaks, as players tend to disperse. To fix that I established that in every session when they arrive they should play a rondo with 2 in the middle. It’s a fun game, related to our football culture and where they are also developing skills. And I’m willing to create punishments for kicking balls to goal during the breaks. Light stuff such as burpees or pushups. But in case someone gets hit by a ball that will cost them gametime minutes. However I’ll let them set the punishments, as if they create the rules they are more likely to abide to them.

I do need to spend more time studying and thinking about team environment building, as my main focus has always been football itself and I’ve always neglected the group cohesion part of the job, which I think is a big part of the job.




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